Money is tight. Gas prices are up, and everything is more expensive except for the price of an employee. A neatly trimmed yard. A not too old car...just one...I guess we look prosperous enough, even in this neighborhood.
So, the property behind us is a revolving door rental. A lady I'd never seen before caught my eye while I was standing at my sink, in my kitchen. She was on the sidewalk, and briefly I missed the bushes that used to be tall enough to cover those windows. I like privacy. Don't like uncomfortable interactions with human beings.
As I went out, she was coming into my yard. I did not like that, either. I like privacy. Then she asked to borrow money. Payday next Monday, could she borrow some? Of course she'd pay us right back. Yeah, whatever.
Not for alms, although maybe it was a request couched in those terms, I don't know. But I had to turn her down. No extra moneylying around at our house, even with the neatly trimmed yard, the not-too-old car and the professional husband. Lending money: BAD IDEA. Borrowing money: BAD IDEA. "Neither a borrower nor a lender be." We've started living by that this past year.
She told me she'd given chicken to my cat. Like this would soften me up, make me want to give her something? I asked her not to do that anymore. How many ways is this lady going to violate our boundaries? I wonder to myself. I said the cat could get the runs. She understood. Mostly I don't like it when my neighbors feed my animals, just like I would not want them feeding my kids.
If only she'd asked me for food. I could have given her food. But maybe she was not hungry. Maybe food is too personal. I don't know. I just don't know.
Usually when I have an alms giving opportunity, it feels like a "divine appointment", like I"m doing the right thing. This was not that. This felt different. Do I trust my instincts?